The American Gaming Association estimated that over $6 billion were bet on the Super Bowl last season. Part of that is because it’s the biggest and most mainstream sporting event of the year. It brings in a significant amount of public money to make the game intriguing for those without a rooting interest in either team.
But another reason why it’s so immensely popular with gamblers is because there are literally hundreds of ways to bet on it. Whether it is player props, team props, or props involving things having nothing to do with the game, almost every second of the spectacle start to finish can be wagered on. Bets will be made from the first note of the National Anthem to the first gratitude from the Super Bowl MVP.
Not only can you wager on the game itself, but books create cross-sport props where you can bet the outcome of both the Super Bowl and another sporting event. Golf is prominently featured with these cross-sport props and offers an interesting way to make your entire Super Bowl Sunday matter.
The key to betting a golf and Super Bowl cross-sport prop is first figuring out how the golfer will perform in their tournament, which will then set a magic number on the football side of the bet. It’s also a way to possibly take a standalone Super Bowl prop you like and get a better price on it, especially if you like the over on something and can shave a few yards or points off it based on the performance of the golfer.
One thing to keep in mind with these props is that these all involve outcomes from the final round of the tournament. That means if a player involved in a prop misses the cut, the prop is declared No Action. That reduces a lot of risk placing a bet on a player knowing there’s a safety net of having the bet refunded should they not make it to Sunday.
Here’s a breakdown of all the Super Bowl cross-sport props as it relates to this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Who Will Have More – Waste Management Phoenix Open Winning Score or Patrick Mahomes Passing Yards -40.5
Golf Analysis: TPC Scottsdale is a Par 71 golf course, so even par all four rounds totals to 284. The winning scores for the last five years at tournament have been 267, 266, 267, 270 and 269, respectively. Given that the weather is absolutely spectacular in Scottsdale this weekend with warm temperatures, no rain and little wind, I expect scores to be quite good and the winning score to be in the high teens under par. That’ll be anywhere between 265 and 267 to set the line on this prop.
Estimated Passing Yards Needed by Mahomes to Cover Spread: 306.5+ Yards
Super Bowl Analysis: I’ve seen standalone Mahomes passing yards prop totals anywhere between 299.5 yards (with heavy juice on the over) and 310.5 yards, so my estimated target number to cover the spread is right in the middle of this. Depending on the total offered by your book you might get a better value to go one way or the other.
The public perception is that Mahomes is going to throw for more than 300 yards in the Super Bowl because he’s, well, Patrick Mahomes. But the San Francisco 49ers only allowed two players all year to pass for more than 300 yards and ranked 2nd in Pass Defense DVOA. Mahomes has also rushed effectively in the playoffs, which could take away passing yard opportunities for him if his running is weaponized. The Chiefs also could face a time of possession deficit should the 49ers offense control the clock to keep Mahomes off the field.
Given the overwhelming public perception Mahomes is going to hit the over on his passing yards prop, I like the contrarian angle that his passing yard totals remain in check from a combination of a good 49ers defense and the offensive game plan from Andy Reid.
The Pick: Waste Management Phoenix Open Winning Score +40.5
Who Will Have More – Justin Thomas 4th Round Fairways Hit or 1st Quarter Points -1.5
Golf Analysis: Despite his reputation as a premier ball striker, Justin Thomas has below average accuracy off the tee on the PGA Tour. In his career he only hits 58% of his fairways, or about 8 per round. That’s slightly below the average on the PGA Tour of around 60%. And despite pretty good success at TPC Scottsdale his driving accuracy there is even worse. In five career starts he’s hit just under 50% of his fairways, or about 7 per round. We’ll split the baby down the middle and set his line at 7.5 fairways hit in the final round.
Estimated 1st Quarter Points to Cover Spread: 9+ Points
Super Bowl Analysis: Most books have set the over/under on total 1st Quarter Points at 10, so if you’re someone who loves the over you’re getting a free point to play with. That also seems to be the public perception on not just this prop but the game total itself. A huge amount of both public and sharp money is on the over, as the total opened at 51 and has since climbed all the way to 54 or 55. Many books also make bettors pay juice to bet the over on 1st Quarter points.
There have been no points scored in the 1st Quarter in three of the last 5 Super Bowls, but half of the last 10 Super Bowls have seen 1st Quarter totals hitting double digits. There’s a betting trend both for and against each side of the 1st Quarter Total for bettors to cling to.
This one might come down to who wins the coin toss. If the 49ers win the toss, they could look to take the air out of the football to keep the Chiefs off the field. They could dominate the clock with their running game against a Chiefs defense ranked 29th in Run Defense DVOA. In addition, the knock on the Chiefs all season has been their slow starts, including getting behind double digits in each of their playoff games before storming back for victories.
Once again, I’m going to side with the more contrarian angle that both offenses might get off to slow starts, at least in the 1st Quarter. That should keep scoring in check for the 1st Quarter and allow Thomas’s Fairways Hit total to cover this spread, even if it’s a low number.
The Pick: Justin Thomas 4th Round Fairways Hit +1.5
Who Will Have More – Jon Rahm 4th Round Birdies or Emmanuel Sanders Receptions +0.5
Golf Analysis: When Jon Rahm is on, he can be an absolute birdie machine. Since 2017 Rahm has averaged just under four birdies per round, which is one of the top clips on the PGA Tour. He has a great track record at TPC Scottsdale and has seen his birdie rates increase slightly to 4.2 birdies per round in four career starts. His final round scoring average since 2017 is 70, which is just a touch higher than his overall scoring average of 69.7. With no real leans in 4th round performance, I’m confident we can set his line of 4th round birdies based on his career at TPC Scottsdale, which I’ll set at 4.5.
My only question with this prop is if it’s just birdies or if they include any eagles he’ll have. This may be something to ask your book manager about. If they do include any eagles as valid additions to Rahm’s total, bump his total up maybe another half point. The Par 5’s at TPC Scottsdale are very reachable for longer hitters and he has more than enough fire power to get to the green in two to put an eagle on the scorecard.
For the purposes of this analysis, we’ll assume it’s just birdies only.
Estimated Sanders Receptions to Cover Spread: 4+ Receptions
Super Bowl Analysis: While his trade to the 49ers helped bring much needed leadership to a young group of wide receivers, Emmanuel Sanders overall impact on the field has been minimal. In his 12 games with San Francisco he’s only had four or more receptions in four of them, and the strength of the Chiefs defense is in their secondary. If the 49ers’ goal on offense is to burn clock with a slow pace and a reliance on the running game to keep the Chiefs off the field, that’ll reduce the number of passing opportunities he’ll have to cover the spread. In addition, Deebo Samuels has really emerged in the second half of the year as the go-to wide receiver on the team, making Sanders at best the third receiving option in one of the lower pass volume offenses in the NFL.
His receptions over/under total has been set anywhere from 2.5 (with heavy juice on the over) and 3.5 (with heavy juice on the under). The bettors seem to think he’s going to have about 3 in the Super Bowl, and unlike the first two props I agree with the general public here. Not only is that not enough to cover an average Jon Rahm round, but a very good 4th round from him could push the number of receptions needed even higher.
The Pick: Jon Rahm 4th Round Birdies -0.5
Who Will Have More – Rickie Fowler 4th Round Score or Chiefs Total Rushing Yards -18.5
Golf Analysis: Fowler unfortunately has the stigma of being a slow finisher, often times failing to get out of neutral and close out a tournament in strong fashion. That’s evident in his career final round performance versus his overall scoring average. Since 2016, Fowler’s average final round score is 70.2, about half a stroke higher than his overall scoring average within that same time frame. This is also reflective at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, as his final round scoring average there is 70.1. That’s about 1.5 strokes higher than his career scoring average in the event.
These two pieces of information gives me confidence to set his 4th round score line at about 70.
Estimated Chiefs Rushing Yards Needed to Cover Spread: 88.5+ Yards
Super Bowl Analysis: Conveniently enough, the books seem to agree with my back of the napkin calculated final round score for Rickie Fowler, as their standalone Chiefs rushing yards prop is almost universally 88.5.
The 49ers have been stout against the run in the playoffs, giving up a combined 83 yards in total to the Packers and the Vikings. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have seen a revitalization of their rushing attack, gaining over 100 yards as a team in four straight games. This is primarily attributed to Mahomes showing better mobilization following a mid-season knee injury, scrambling for rushing yards to add to the team’s total.
While the 49ers are generally known to have a good run defense, that’s primarily against straightforward rushing attacks. The Chiefs have multiple ways to utilize their rushing game, whether it be traditionally with Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson, Mahomes scrambling out of the pocket, or running jet sweeps to one of their speedy wide receivers. You can also count on Andy Reid pulling out all the stops with his offensive attack this week, and I expect him to dial up a lot of exotic plays to catch the 49ers off guard.
Given all the ways the Chiefs can effectively deploy a rushing attack, I think they’ll be successful on the ground against the 49ers. No matter what Rickie’s final round score is, I think the Chiefs will easily cover the spread on this cross-sport prop.
The Pick: Chiefs Total Rushing Yards -18.5
Who Will Have More – Jordan Spieth 4th Round Score or Travis Kelce Receiving Yards -3.5
Golf Analysis: Jordan Spieth’s struggles on the weekends of tournaments are well chronicled in the golf community. Since 2018 (when his on-course troubles started), his final round scoring average is an abysmal 71.1. He’s been plagued for the last three years first with the putting yips and now with the driving yips. That’s tended to rear its ugly head on Saturday and Sunday of tournaments. While his overall scoring average at TPC Scottsdale is quite good, those were mainly compiled before he started having so many issues on the golf course. As such, we’ll go ahead and set his final round score line at about 71.
Estimated Kelce Receiving Yards to Cover Spread: 74.5+ Yards
Super Bowl Analysis: Most books have set the over/under on Kelce’s receiving yards at 75.5, so we’re in the ball park of what Kelce would need to do to cover this spread.
Your opinion of how to bet this prop depends on how you think the 49ers will try and scheme their defense in the Super Bowl. Will they roll coverage towards Tyreek Hill to put a lid on the downfield passing, which will open up the middle of the field for Kelce? Or will they double team Kelce and trust that Richard Sherman can lock down Tyreek Hill to keep him in check by himself.
In my view, I think the 49ers will opt to roll coverage towards towards Tyreek Hill to better help contain him. They’ll hope their linebackers (who overall are pretty good in pass coverage) can try and handle Kelce. Nevertheless, that should open up a higher volume of targets over the middle to him and make the chances he’ll exceed 75 receiving yards much more likely.
The Pick: Travis Kelce Receiving Yards -3.5